Castling had succeeded.
I went to the coordinates where Ann was supposed to be, and Ann went to the coordinates where I was in.
We were swapped in a blink of an eye by the magic circle deployed beneath the feet of the two of us.
Before my eyes was Zaratan the vengeful huge beast.
From him, shadows that looked like countless number of black arms, just like grotesque-looking black flower petals, were stretching out.
It was an instant death curse which was absorbed from the Wand of Death and amplified using the power of the Philosopher’s Stone.
Black arms surrounded me without any gaps, all of which were surely aiming at me.
They couldn’t be avoided.
At the corner of my eyes, I could see Klaus and Ann, who looked at me with sorrowful expressions.
The object of the resentment of Zaratan was merely the Visitor’s Clan……and I was their descendant.
The Harvan siblings were unrelated to the monster’s revenge.
(Please escape. Please, even if it’s only both of you, escape……)
There was no pain, no suffering.
The hands of the long black shadows touched me gently.
I closed my eyes and accepted it.
My body which lost its power slowly fell on my back.
Onii-sama, Otou-sama, please forgive me for dying before you.
Thank you for being kind to someone who said nonsensical things like me.
Erica went to Okaa-sama.
The eight years I had lived as Erica was a short but fulfilling life.
It was a precious experience that I could spend all my time freely.
If it was my precious life, I wouldn’t be able to do it at all.
If I reincarnated again next time, I would like to be a pasture emperor penguin.
(……Huh? Maybe, I’m not dead yet?)
Unlike the Curse of Merciful Death, death by the magic of Death would be fulfilled promptly.
So, it was almost time…no, I should have lost my consciousness a long time ago.
Besides, it was high time I struck the ground.
I opened my eyes.
I saw Erica Aurelia’s trademark blonde vertical roll.
It was not a tightly rolled vertical roll that I always used to see, but it was a bit messy due to intense exercise.
Such a difference could be clearly seen.
Her hair remained stationary as if it had stood in the wind.
No, it wasn’t just the hair.
The ribbon with plain color that had tied her hair was still dancing in the air.
There was also the Wand of Castling that I had let go.
Dust in the air as well.
The remains of the pillars where Zaratan had destroyed.
And also the monster Zaratan.
(Is this…my lantern lights1?)
No, it wasn’t.
It was not that everything stopped.
Only the ones around 4 to 5 meters in radius from me had stopped moving.
There couldn’t be such lantern lights like this.
Outside the space where everything stopped, there were countless tiny objects circling at high speed while shining silver.
(Silver? Flying object? UFO……No, are those spell cards?)
Spell cards were flying over and formed a silver magic circle with a radius of 5 meters.
It seemed that those spell cards formed the barrier that slowed the speed of time.
But, it was strange.
Like the magic of spatial manipulation, the magic of time manipulation was located at the top.
Both Klaus and Ann shouldn’t be able to use such magic.
Klaus who was standing upside down slowly walked toward this direction.
He came into the barrier carelessly.
Apparently, Klaus didn’t seem to be affected by the time manipulation.
『Br, ……brat……., yo, you……, bastard……, wh……what, did……』
A voice full of deep hatred interrupted Zaratan’s words.
It was such an unfeeling and grave voice, I would never think it came from a 10-years-old boy.
“……How dare you.”
As Klaus swung his arm, Zaratan was hit by something.
It was a sound like a heavy metal hammer striking a thick iron plate.
There was a small crack in the armor of the attacked monster.
“How dare you.”
Once again, Klaus swung his arm.
This time I saw it.
Spell cards jumped out of the Protective Circle he made and hit Zaratan very hard.
The exterior of the monster that was attacked in the same place cracked, black liquid splashed from inside, and stopped still midair.
Klaus raised his face.
His facial expression was missing.
Cold, severe, rigid, expressionless face.
The eyes of Klaus, which looked like transparent sapphires, turned into a grayish color that seemed to suck everything.
From one of his eyes, a single drop of tear was flowing.
“How dare you.”
The spell cards hit the monster.
Again, a little part of Zaratan’s body broke.
Even if the Protective Circle had a specialized effect on Zaratan, there was a limit.
Just which one of them had a faster acceleration as they clashed.
In this barrier to delay time, Zaratan had no technique to resist.
He could neither avoid nor protect himself.
Neither regeneration nor transformation took place on time.
Even if he wanted to absorb the attack, he didn’t seem to be able to adjust the timing by the difference between his consciousness and his body.
Even if he could absorb the attack, it was a Protective Circle.
The magical spell that merely became a defensive magic was immediately destroyed by another spell.
“How dare you.”
Every time Klaus swung his arm, the armor of Zaratan broke, and black liquid that was his main body became exposed.
It was just a one-sided violence.
Although the spell card was only a small piece of paper by itself, the blows would crush the monster like a huge iron hammer.
Swung his arm. Crush.
Swung his arm. Crush.
Swung his arm. Crush.
Swung his arm. Crush.
Just like a machine, Klaus kept striking in a quite fury.
Unexpectedly, he stopped all of the spell cards in the air.
Klaus raised his staff overhead and assumed a stance.
From his clear grey eyes, one more tear dropped.
I thought indiscretely that it was very beautiful.
“How dare you……, how dare you, killed……my friend……?”
With the end of his staff, he struck the stone floor.
With that as a signal, countless spell cards that formed the Protective Circle leap upon Zaratan all at once.
Klaus’ magic looked like a silver tornado.
It was very beautiful in appearance, but it was a storm of destruction that crushed everything just by touching it.
Zaratan, who had already been disintegrated into pieces, was literally crushed until he couldn’t keep his current shape.
Zaratan returned to black liquid, spell cards wrapped around him without any gap.
“I will never forgive you.”
The spell cards sphere gradually became smaller.
This time it emitted a rainbow-colored light, as if squeezing Zaratan inside.
Eventually, the spell cards sphere which contained Zaratan became about the size of a tennis ball.
Perhaps not just time manipulation magic but also spatial manipulation magic?
They said an inexperienced body and an unstable mind would hinder the eastern magic.
However, they also said that a strong emotion could amplify magical power enough to overturn that disadvantage.
Klaus took out an empty potion bottle and cast a spell as if singing.
The ancient monster, which was imprisoned with the spell cards, was sucked into the small bottle .
The lonely huge beast Zaratan would be sealed and fell asleep for the second time.
The spell of Seal that Klaus cast seemed like a sorrowful song to me.
“……Erica, I, ……you.”
Klaus crouched down powerlessly when the sealing of the monster was over.
At the same time, the time that had stopped started to move.
I fell on the floor on my back.
Uu……, I rubbed my waist.
While screaming, I crawled in search of a flat floor.
Klaus flinched, trembling, and then slowly turned to my direction.
Oops, our eyes met.
I waved gently and smiled.
Expression returned to Klaus’ face.
Somehow, was he angry?
No, surprise, glad, embarrassed……
As expected, he was very mad.
This was bad.
How do I get away from him?
While I was worrying about that, Ann came running and hugged me.
“Erica-sama! I’m glad, you are okay!”
“Yes……, it’s alright now, Ann-sama……”
Due to extreme tension, Ann’s cheeks were cold.
As I was stroking her back as gently as possible, Klaus was also coming up to my side.
He was still mad, but in front of Ann it seemed that he couldn’t say anything.
I felt like an aphid living together with ants.
If that was the case, I couldn’t let the Ladybug Klaus attack!2
When I was thinking of such rude things, Ann turned over with a bashful appearance, and separated from me.
Aah, Ann-sama, you could hug me a little longer!
Please protect me!
“You……, how come you are alive!”
“If you are alive, then say that you are alive! You made me misunderstood!”
“Erica-sama was taken into the barrier of Onii-sama’s time manipulation, right?”
“I live safely at great pains, so could you feel more pleased?”
Where did the mature-looking expression go?
Klaus was resembling a 10-years-old child, with his clenched fists trembling like that.
“Ha!? Klaus-sama, no way!”
“Truthfully, do you dislike me being alive…?”
“Uwah……, Onii-sama……the lowest…”
“No! That’s not the case!”
No, no, I couldn’t thoughtlessly play around with this.
It seemed that I also felt embarrassed at expressing my gratitude obediently.
I couldn’t say it to other people.
“Thank you for your help.”
“Also, thank you for being angry as a friend.”
Although I was a little late, I told Klaus my heartfelt appreciation.
Whether he felt irritated or embarrassed, I didn’t know him well to understand it, he turned his eyes away from me.
“Well, good……I, if you’re okay, that, that’s good……I’m, about you Erica……”
“W-what is it suddenly!”
“What’s wrong, Erica-sama?”
“Maybe, the Curse of Death conflicted with the Onii-sama’s Curse of Merciful Death?”
That was the reason why I didn’t die by the Curse of Death.
I was already destined to die in a few hours by the Curse of Merciful Death.
This contradicted the destiny of Death’s immediate death.
As the result of conflicting destinies, the more powerfully made Merciful Death won.
Fortune and misfortune twisted like a rope, and the future of human beings was unpredictable, huh.
As expected, Onii-sama……
Not everyone could make such a powerful death trap.
I mean, this, could a serious practitioner even cancel this……?
A tinge of anxiety crossed my mind, but it was okay.
“You……Didn’t you cast it aiming at that?”
“No, not at all. I completely forgot.”
“If so, why?”
“Don’t ask me……”
“Like this, I was swept by the mood, so I carelessly did it?”
“You! Don’t throw away your life irresponsibly!”
“Klaus-oniisama! If you say more rude things toward Erica-sama, I will not forgive you!!”
For some reason Klaus and Ann fell into a sibling fight.
I quietly leave that circle so as not to irritate the two of them.
These two people were good friends in any way.
While thinking about such things about the other people’s affairs, I enjoyed watching the exchange between the two of them.
The three of us could escape from the Ruins of Visitor safely.
Ultimately, it was a simple task to swing the Wand of Levitation in a Pass Wall state.
By the time we returned to Spring Palace, the date was about to change.
About four hours had passed since I entered the ruins.
It was much shorter than the perceived time.
It was the longest and most intense four hours I had ever felt, including the previous life.
Klaus cancelled the magic of Phantasmal Maze and we headed for our fathers.
“So there was something like that happened, Erica.”
Because I was worried about how far should I talk honestly, I only said that I caught the trap on the storage box that Edward-oniisama set up in the Ruins of Visitor.
There was no courage to say more than that, such as going to the lowest layer, released the seal of an ancient monster, not to mention that it was resealed with my life on the line.
“……I apologize, Otou-sama.”
It was a Japanese negotiation style learned in my previous life.
When I showed that I was feeling remorse by keeping a low-profile, Klaus came in and cut the conversation as if defending me.
“That was my fault. I got her involved. Erica did nothing wrong.”
“Klaus-kun……thank you for protecting Erica. Did she go into that ruins and have returned unscathed because you guarded her?”
“No, that wasn’t it. Rather, I was—”
“Yes, that’s right, Otou-sama. Klaus-sama guarded me.”
I cut off Klaus’ words and said my piece to cover it.
The real reason was because the story got complicated, but it was true that I was thankful that he guarded me.
“I see……Klaus-kun, for me, Erica is a treasure that can’t be replaced by anything. As a father, as the Duke of Aurelia, I promise that I will pay you back.”
That being said, the Aurelia official himself bowed to a boy who was over thirty years his junior to express the highest respect for a nobility.
It seemed that Klaus still wanted to say something, but he didn’t persist.
My father let Klaus and Ann go back first.
The Harvan couple was waiting for them.
And my father said nothing more, just hugged me quietly and gently.
I felt guiltier than if I was being scolded for a long time.
When I treated myself roughly, I realized there was someone who would be sad.
After that, my father dispelled the Curse of Merciful Death without delay.
“Aah~~~~, I can finally sleep……”
It was two hours after my father finished the solution spell that I came home to Spring Palace.
During the ceremony of the solution spell, the worried Klaus came to check my situation many times.
Eventually, I was escorted to my bedroom.
He was a sincere person.
I threw the bag I borrowed from my older brother, took off my clothes and left them scatter around, and then laid on the bed.
I would not move another step.
I mean, I would not go into the labyrinth ever again.
To play in a dungeon, inside a game was enough.
As I was idling about, my hand hit something hard, it seemed that it rolled out from the pocket of the clothing I took off.
When we escaped from the labyrinth, I got it from Klaus.
“Oh, this is……, there is still some work to do.”
With vacant eyes, I headed to my working desk.
Searching the shelves containing alchemy materials in every corner, somehow the material I was looking for was found.
I wondered if I could put practical use of the skills I already learned.
But, this, it seemed that this would take quite a while to finish.
……This might take all night.
I looked back to my bed with bitter eyes.
Oh, my beloved duvet……
Shaking off my reluctance, I tried to concentrate on the loot that I put on the working desk.
1 Like a lantern light: This is an expression in Japan, expressing something like a shadow appearing in a lantern light, it is referring to the various visions appearing in mind when someone is about to die. The western equivalent would be ‘memories flashing before my eyes.’ So, Erica thought that what she saw was visions as she was about to die.
2 Aphids are small sap-sucking insects. So-called dairying ants have a mutualistic relationship with aphids, tending them for their honeydew, and protecting them from predators. One of aphids’ predators is Ladybug. () In this analogy, Erica is an aphid, Ann is an ant, and Klaus is a Ladybug.
That moment when you confessed thinking your crush died and realized she’s actually still alive.
1,374 | 1 165 chapters